Progress Points: Land Banks

A Brief Primer

Author(s): Center for Community Progress

A land bank is a public entity with unique governmental powers, created pursuant to state-enabling legislation, that is solely focused on converting problem properties into productive use according to local community goals.

Land banks across the country have been a vehicle for supporting broader community development by maintaining vacant structures that can be restored and demolishing those that cannot, assembling property for future reuse, turning tax-foreclosed properties into quality housing for all income levels, facilitating commercial and industrial property reuse, and working with the community to transform vacant land into parks, gardens, and other community spaces.

While the special powers granted to land banks differ from state to state, ideally land banks have the authority to:

  • Acquire tax-foreclosed property cost-effectively
  • Extinguish liens and clear title
  • Hold property tax-exempt
  • Generate and collect revenue from delinquent property tax fees, property tax recapture, or other funding mechanisms
  • Flexibly sell property to a responsible buyer and/or developer, driven not by highest price but by the outcome that most closely aligns with community goals

Download and share this one-page explainer today.

Madison Gharghoury, Development Associate and Special Assistant to the President/CEO


Published: January 2022


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